Whistleblower garda planning to appear at PAC

McGuinness: 'he will not be allowed to make any allegations against citizens or indeed members of the force'

The Public Accounts Committee will meet today to discuss its next move in the penalty points whistleblower controversy, as the chairman defends its actions.

Yesterday, the Minister for Justice announced he was referring the issue to the Garda Ombudsman Commission for investigation.

However, one of the whistleblowers, a serving garda, has contacted the PAC and said he still wants to be heard there as planned on Thursday.

The Committee Chairman, John McGuiness says the PAC will discuss the issue when it meets this afternoon.

"It would be his intention to come before the PAC next Thursday, and that he intends to inform his senior officer about this," said chairman of the PAC, John McGuiness.

"He [will] only deal with revenue issues and the failure of the Pulse [garda information] network … he will not be allowed to make any allegations against citizens or indeed members of the force."

Commenting on Alan Shatter's remarks about the work of the committee, in which he said they may be pre-judging issues and ran the danger of bringing the Committee into disrepute, McGuiness said the Minister's comments were "not helpful" and he could have chosen his words better.

Independent TD Shane Ross said there was an effort to discredit the committee because they had been "very, very successful in holding … powerful people in Ireland to account."

He also accused Alan Shatter of being "too close" to the garda commissioner, Martin Callinan.

Minister Shatter followed these comments in an appearance on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, in which he accused Shane Ross of confusing his role of being a journalist with his responsibility as a politician.

The Minister also claimed it was impossible for him to refer the matter of penalty points to the Garda Ombudsman before now.

Shatter's Cabinet colleagues have supported his remarks, with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore also warning the PAC about possible damage to the Garda Ombudsman's investigation, and Brendan Howlin welcoming the referral.

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